AOPA will be closing at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday November 21, in observance of Thanksgiving. We will reopen at 8:30 a.m. EST on Monday, November 26.
Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today
Menu

CAP provides Hurricane Lane damage reports in HawaiiCAP provides Hurricane Lane damage reports in Hawaii

Civil Air Patrol members in Hawaii were pressed into service during Hurricane Lane and directed to collect data with their cell phones to help provide more accurate damage reports to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Civil Air Patrol members in Hawaii were directed to collect data with their cell phones to help provide more accurate Hurricane Lane damage reports to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Aug. 28, 2018. Photo courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol.

The National Weather Service reported more than 52 inches of rain pelted the islands in the days immediately preceding landfall, just eight inches shy of the 60 inches of precipitation that devastated Houston from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. “Heavy pounding and hazardous conditions” were reported throughout the islands, the Kauai Emergency Management Agency said.

The Reuters news agency reported that the storm’s wind velocity had dropped to tropical storm status when it reached the shore Aug. 28, but a steady rain prompted flash flood advisories for island residents and visitors to the tropical paradise.

“FEMA is looking at the situation as a flooding event, but the information we’re getting from current monitoring systems is incomplete because those monitoring systems do not accurately reflect flash-flood data, and there are some areas where monitoring systems are not installed,” said FEMA Geospatial Information Officer Christopher Vaughan. 

Civil Air Patrol members in Hawaii were directed to collect data with their cell phones to help provide more accurate Hurricane Lane damage reports to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Aug. 28, 2018. Second Lt. Kamalama Kaikuana, the Hawaii Wing’s assistant director of communications, tries out the FEMA app he downloaded to his phone on the island of Oahu. Photo courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol.

Hawaii Wing cadets were dispatched in teams for ground-based photography missions and directed to use their GPS-enabled smart phones in concert with the FEMA app to document high-water marks left as floodwaters receded. The agency planned to analyze the photos to determine the high-water marks and water wreck lines on structures that would lead to better understanding of the overall impact of the floods. The lines are visual clues that result from dirt or discoloration and remain behind as evidence after floodwaters recede.

The public was also asked to help provide photos via the FEMA app so the agency could complete its evaluation of the storm’s damage. “As people return to school and work ... they can snap photos of high-water marks on homes, workplaces, trees and light poles as they encounter them and just upload them to the app,” said Col. Tim Hahn, CAP Pacific Region commander. 

The organization provided aerial warning announcements to the public, surveyed the coastline for potential hazards, and performed other duties during the hurricane’s approach. During 2017’s hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the group performed communications functions, photography documentation, and aerial reconnaissance in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

In other news, the group recently welcomed aviation education expert Martha King of King Schools Inc. to its board of governors. A news release noted that King considered it “an honor” to be associated with the aviation-based leadership organization. In July, the CAP’s cell phone forensics team worked its 1,500th mission during a search for a missing Utah hiker.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a seaplane-rated private pilot who enjoys vintage aircraft, aerobatic flying, and photography.
Topics: Public Benefit Flying, Aviation Organizations

Related Articles